Rethinking Derek Jeter

I’ve never been a big fan of Derek Jeter.  Maybe it’s because he’s a Yankee and I tend to dislike all things Yankees.  Maybe it’s because he seemed to always get so much credit for his off the field things like being such a great leader.  As most of my friends on here well tell you, I’m not into all the intangibles of baseball players.  I think their importance to a team tend to be greatly overstated.  I’m not saying they’re completely invalid and pointless, just I’d prefer talent over leadership.  Jeter seemed to embody everything that can’t be measured and it always made me think he wasn’t actually as good as people thought.

With him having just recorded his 3,000th hit within the last hour, I got to thinking about where he actually ranks all time among shortstops.  I have to say, some of it was rather eye opening for me.  I will say, I always thought he was good, just not as good as the media would have you believe.  Below are where he ranks all time among shortstops in some categories I tend to value:

  • OPS – .832 (9th all time)
  • OBP – .383 (12th all time)
  • SLG – .449 (14th all time)
  • HR – 236 (8th all time)
  • RBI – 1,157 (12th all time)
  • WAR – 72.8 (11th all time)
His defense has always been a topic of great debate and although he’s won a few gold gloves, all of the new metrics rank him as a below average defensive shortstop.  Going back to 2002, his career UZR is -43.4, not good.
Regardless of his defense though, the offensive numbers shocked me.  I never thought of Jeter as much more than a singles hitter.  I know he hit a few homeruns in important situations but overall I never thought of him as much of a power guy.  Howeever, a career OPS of .832 is amazing for any player, but especially a shortstop.  I admit, I was very wrong on Jeter.
I know this isn’t news that Jeter is good, this is more about me finally realizing just how good he has actually been.  I do give him credit for playing the game hard all the time.  And maybe most importantly, I think he did it without the assistance of PEDs.
It’s an impressive feat, getting 3,000 hits.  I just wish I would have appreciated the first 2,999 a little more
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